There is a lady named Sue Bryce, and she has taught me so much in the past few months... My whole life has been a question of whether I am good enough, and recently, whether I am worthy of this life I have stumbled upon creating for myself. I walked around for years with the attitude that I didn't care what others thought, but in reality I did. Oh boy I did...And that strangled me, and it weighed me down... But then I stumbled upon a talk this woman did, she is a photographer, and I mean come on... what has she got to say that hasn't been told to me countless times from people who love and care about me? A lot of what she said was stuff I had already heard, but the way she explained it just spoke to me. I like to say that she knows the words that just kick my butt, they tear me down and build me up all at the same dang time. And she isn't even Oprah, people!! But it is through her personal struggles and how eloquently and intelligently she explains them that just catches my attention.
I have now learned, that it has not been the people in my life that have gotten me through the toughest of times, it has been me. I carried myself through the pain and the struggles. I have this strength inside of me that carries me and the people I love. Wow. I am a pretty awesome person. 5 years ago if someone had told me that I was a strong, amazing and talented person, flawed, but with WORTH and a MEANINGFUL life, it would have just barely pierced my armour... I would have laughed and made a joke, deflecting that truth into the "yeah, right, ok, what do you want from me?" pile. But now I actually have the belief and strength to say it to myself. And it feels amazing. And I feel like I can do anything. Although this is another struggle I have carried myself through, and there are many more waiting, I can definitely say that Sue helped light the way for me. And I can only hope that I can pay that forward someday. Because my life has been completely changed for the better.
I can definitely say, that I love this person-that-is-me. I would be proud to call this person-that-is-me mine. I am dang proud of who I am, what I am, and where I am going. Through this past year of self reflection, and putting away old hurts, and building healthy relationships with myself and loved ones, I have found one thing that I can hold to be truth: I accept myself. Completely. This life of judgement and fear is done. I am not afraid. I am only excited for what is in store for the rest of my life.
But that is the INSIDE of me. There are struggles still with the OUTSIDE of me. Perfection is impossible, but this struggle is tied to my health and well being.
This struggle is accepting the outer shell I live in. In one of her talks Sue said that we tie our identity to what we want to change about ourselves. I want to lose weight to be accepted by society, to not be discriminated against and bullied. I want to lose weight to feel pretty again. I want to lose weight to be a better photographer. But losing weight doesn't guarantee this... so why do I keep thinking that it will? And we all have feelings like this, whether it is with weight or another flaw we want to change about ourselves but are struggling with. And oh the pressure that puts on us! Everyday that I am not losing a pound I am failing. Every day that I am not thinner I am not a better photographer, I am not pretty, I am not accepted, and I will be judged and bullied.
It is time I stop identifying with my weight. This weight is not me, and it has nothing to do with me.
So to try and disentangle myself with these notions I have decided that I will exist in photographs for myself. I will take a photo of myself each day, and then I will list what I am grateful for. I will use this medium, that has thus far healed me in so many ways, to heal me once again. These are not photos that I will post and share with you all... but it is time that I show MYSELF the kindness and compassion and acceptance I have shown many others in my life.
Comment below if you are thinking of doing a similar project to help stop identifying with your flaws.
And thank you Sue Bryce for being vulnerable; opening yourself up has caused me to open myself up.
And so far I like what I see.